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December 15, 2016

Rajnath Singh must forget his Pakistan obsession


December 15, 2016

My heart sank as I read Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s speech Sunday at a Martyrs’ Day event in Kathua, South Jammu.  My despair was caused not only by what he said but also by the very fact that he found it necessary to say it. 

He said, among other things, that Pakistan is trying to divide India on religious lines and warned the neighbouring country that if it doesn’t stop supporting terrorism, it may get divided into “10 parts”. 

Then a pearl of wisdom rolled from the esteemed tongue of Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, the world-renowned pacifist, who is forever ready to place his own life on the altar of India’s unity. He said: Yes Rajnath Singhji Pakistan is trying to divide India along religious lines; has it struck you that you & your boss have been doing the same?

What Gandhi said was so wonderfully sagacious that it must have made the Pakistanis roll on their drawing room floors in sheer ecstasy. The joy of Pakistanis, in turn, would make India’s Left bauddhiks or intellectuals, whose superior wisdom stretches their mental horizons far beyond boundaries and nationalism, grin with contentment. 

PTI said home minister Rajnath Singh must realise that talking too much about Pakistan can be seen as a pathological obsession. Home minister must realise that talking too much about Pakistan can be seen as a pathological obsession. 

It would seem that each time a BJP leader puts one foot in his mouth; Gandhi shoves both his feet in his mouth faster than you can imagine. But the picture of one foot-in-mouth isn’t any prettier than that of two. 

That Pakistan is trying to divide India is a fact too well-known to be worthy of repetition, especially by a member of the government as highly placed as Singh. 

We all know that the very purpose of Pakistan exporting terror to India – with the same ease as it exports cement, leather, almonds and such things to our country – is not to have some gory fun or to enjoy a real life snakes-and-ladders game, but to disrupt and divide India. 

Singh didn’t say it, but we are aware that Pakistan’s ISI has been printing fake Indian currency with great efficiency; stuffing it into the pockets of ‘jehadis’ who then send it across the border. 

Now about Pakistan getting divided into “10 parts”. Whether Pakistan gets truncated into two and a half parts or 10 pieces or makes mincemeat of itself; it would seem that it’s none of our damn business. Let Pakistan worry about its problems, and we should worry about ours. And, we have many. Apart from this, Singh also said:

- despite repeated failures, India continued to seek peace with Pakistan; - even after the Kargil war, Atal Bihari Vajpayee offered friendship to Pakistan; - Prime Minister Narendra Modi went out of his way to keep Pakistan in good humour; - in return, Pakistan gave India Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Uri; - more Islamic sects existed in India than in Pakistan; - the jehadis didn’t get as much support in India as they had hoped, because Indian Muslims are loyal to India; - and Pakistan is our neighbour and, though one can change friends, one can’t change neighbours. 

All these are facts with a ring of finality that brook no repetition. Think of a man running out on the street every morning, screaming that the sky is blue and that the sun rises in the east. He only runs the risk of being considered off his rocker. Parrot-like repetitions can be somewhat pardonable if they come from lowly officials or party satraps. True statesmen know the worth of silence, aware that a stern look can often be more catastrophic than a shout. 

Ask the Chinese. Rarely, if ever, senior Chinese leaders, leave alone President Xi Jinping or Premier Li Keqiang, shoot off with their mouths. They leave that job to spokesmen of their foreign ministry or editorial writers of China Daily or an academic in a province like Guangdong. 

Singh must realise that talking too much about Pakistan can be seen as a certain pathological obsession with that country; an obsession that we accuse Pakistan of having with India.  And as for Pakistan’s adventures from across the border, the Indian Army knows what to do. Can we please let the army do its job?

Modi’s polite admonition in October to his party leaders against chest-thumping and speaking out of turn about the surgical strikes has not doused the enthusiasm of many in the BJP – be it Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar or Information & Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu – to talk, talk and talk. 

Pardon me for not being able to resist the temptation of recalling a little dialogue between The Lady (Queen Elizabeth) and The Man (Shakespeare) in George Bernard Shaw’s comedy The Dark Lady of the Sonnets:

“The Lady: You talk too much, sir. Let me warn you: I’m more accustomed to be listened to than preached at.  The Man: The most are like that that do talk well. But though you spake with the tongues of angels, as indeed you do, yet know that I am the king of words -

The Lady: A king, ha!”